We Can't Talk about That at Work! Second Edition: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics (Paperback)

We Can't Talk about That at Work! Second Edition: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics By Mary-Frances Winters, Mareisha Reese Cover Image

We Can't Talk about That at Work! Second Edition: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics (Paperback)


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In developing the skills necessary to engage in Bold, Inclusive Conversations around polarizing topics, we can acknowledge that these subjects are complex, that there are no simple answers, and that it takes time and practice to learn how to do it well.

Politics, religion, race—we can't talk about topics like these at work, right? But in fact, these conversations are happening all the time, either in real life or virtually. And if they aren't handled effectively, they can become more polarizing and divisive, impacting productivity, engagement, retention, teamwork, and even employees' sense of safety in the workplace.

In this second edition of We Can’t Talk about That at Work!, best-selling author Mary-Frances Winters and new coauthor Mareisha N. Reese of The Winters Group, Inc., provide fresh examples, updated research, and compelling insights. Featuring a new chapter on how two organizations have actualized the model for Bold, Inclusive Conversations as well as a discussion guide and updated glossary, this modern classic offers step-by-step guidance for conducting structured conversations around polarizing topics. Leaders and organizations can address sensitive subjects head on in a way that brings people together instead of driving them apart.
Mary-Frances Winters is the founder and CEO of The Winters Group, Inc. She is also the author of Inclusive Conversations, Black Fatigue, and Racial Justice at Work.

Mareisha N. Reese is president and chief operating officer of The Winters Group, Inc. and is a co-author with Mary-Frances of Racial Justice at Work.
Product Details ISBN: 9781523006311
ISBN-10: 1523006315
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 216
Language: English
“People are not comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. I’m happy that there is finally a resource to guide us all on how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
—Michele C. Meyer-Shippp, Esq., CEO, Dress for Success Worldwide
“Deep subject-matter expertise, strategic thinking, sociocultural insights, contemporary application, and wisdom will spill out of these pages as you engage with the book.”
—Andrés Tapia, Senior Client Partner and Global DE&I and ESG Strategist, Korn Ferry, and author of The Inclusion Paradox
“Wonderful book that asks the tough questions about the readiness to have these difficult conversations and provides the tools for doing so. I highly recommend it for both individuals and teams challenged by these polarizing topics but who also want to move forward in a thoughtful, effective manner.”
—Augustin Melendez, retired chief human resources and organization development officer

Praise for the First Edition:

“Given all the external influences that ultimately impact how we show up in our personal and professional lives, it’s important that we, as organizations and leaders, encourage open dialogue and a safe space to engage. This book provides everything you need to do just that.”
—Rohini Anand, PhD, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo

“This is the book we have been waiting for. Read it, learn from it, acquire the skills described in it. And then with courage, patience, and practice, you will be prepared to have those difficult but necessary conversations in your workplace.”
—Johnnetta Betsch Cole, PhD, President Emerita, Spelman College and Bennett College

“Mary-Frances Winters has done it again! Her real-life examples are compelling, and her ‘best practices’ can have an immediate impact on everyone who reads her book.”
—Mitchell R. Hammer, PhD, President, Intercultural Development Inventory, LLC; Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory, LLC; and Safe Dialogue, LLC

“I’m very excited about the release of We Can’t Talk about That at Work! The issue of discussing polarizing topics at work is a really tough one. People are not comfortable having uncomfortable conversations. I’m happy that there will finally be a resource to guide us all on how to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
—Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, Esq., Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Prudential Financial, Inc.

“This book is a comprehensive, practical, and highly accessible tool for empowering people to have the brave conversations that are needed in these tumultuous times. Mary-Frances has given readers an invaluable resource for organizations and individuals to navigate the charged times that we live in and make a contribution toward cocreating a more compassionate future.”
—Nene Molefi, diversity and inclusion thought leader and CEO, Mandate Molefi

“Mary-Frances Winters’s wisdom shines throughout this book. She helps us understand deeply why we need to talk about polarizing topics—yes, at work—and then proceeds to show us how with care, concern, and compassion for those who may not agree with us. I hope that all leaders and employees read it and implement her wise suggestions and counsel.”
—Julie O’Mara, coauthor of Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks and other inclusion works and Past-President, American Society for Training & Development (now ATD)

“We are living in times of crisis. Day after day, we are confronted with polarization about issues of real import to our society and our world that can seem difficult, if not impossible, to talk about. And yet this is not a time for timidity. We must talk about these issues if we are going to cross the great divides in our ideologies and exist together in civil society. Mary-Frances Winters has created an extremely helpful guide for better understanding and navigating those difficult conversations. Be bold—use this book!”
—Howard Ross, founder and Chief Learning Officer, Cook Ross

We Can’t Talk about That at Work! has hit the mark. This body of work is critically important to advancing inclusion and dialogue in our workplaces. As we work diligently to increase our diversity, we struggle with inclusion and having the difficult conversations about the various aspects of diversity. Now, we have a road map and tools to support diversity professionals, leaders, and employees in any work environment. This will be the book used by all.”
—Darlene Slaughter, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, United Way Worldwide

“In the current global political and social climate, characterized by increasingly polarized views, the ability to embrace views different from our own, without judgment or vilification, is more critical than ever. It is also at the heart of all diversity and inclusion work. For with all our ideals, we often overlook the fact that diversity and inclusion can be hard. In We Can’t Talk about That at Work!, Mary-Frances addresses this issue head-on, providing practical skills to empower leaders and managers to have effective dialogue across difference.”
—Kate Vernon, Director, Strategic Programmes, Community Business

“The presidential farewell address is a perfect way to set up this powerful and practical guide to effectively engaging in conversations about polarizing issues. I too believe that we need to meet people where they are, and not expect them to necessarily see the world from our view, and that we all have work to do to close the cultural divide and change hearts. What makes this book different is its soft approach to bold conversations, using talking tips, templates, and reflection questions.”
—Tyronne Stoudemire, Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and Adjunct Lecturer of Management and Organization, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University